Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Firebird Newsletter, December 2012

This is our last newsletter of 2012 and we would like to thank you all for your interest, support and help over the last 12 months. 

As you know, we are now in the throes of making The Breadhorse, which is a very exciting piece of new theatre, and since our last newsletter we have now confirmed some of our collaborators.

The Breadhorse news

We are honoured to be working with Sarah Moody and Mark Lawrence on this project; Sarah will lead on the musical composition and with a small group of Firebird musicians and young people will play live during the performances. Alongside Sarah, Mark our choirmaster will rehearse a choir of young people formed especially for the project and made up of students from Briarwood and Kingsweston Schools and St Brendan’s Sixth Form College. We are delighted that the project can bring together young people in this way to be part of making important theatre for audiences from across Bristol.

The Choir, students and teachers from Briarwood and Kingsweston Schools and St Brendan's Sixth Form College

Tameka and Jack from Bristol Old Vic’s Made in Bristol project have also been working with us and we are hoping that they will also join the Choir and bring their experiences of performing in theatre to other members of the group.
The students have already met members of Firebird and participated in an exciting introductory workshop with Sarah and Mark; rehearsals start properly in the New Year.

Meanwhile Firebird has finished the first stage of devising for The Breadhorse and will begin intensive rehearsals in January. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Tristan Sturrock in our rehearsals from January, which will build on the relationship we started with him on The Nine Lessons of Caliban.

Firebird’s visual artist, Carol Chilcott, has had 3 sessions with the Company, drawing people as they have been working on The Breadhorse. Many people have commented on Carol’s beautiful painting of Breadhorse, which is currently being used to publicise the production, and we will tell you more about Carol’s work with us in our next newsletter along with further announcements on new members of the creative team.

On a more personal note, we are finding that The Breadhorse story means more and more to us the deeper we go into it. Company member, Sharlie Yea, describes The Breadhorse as being about a journey of acceptance and understanding, with a desire to pass on your knowledge and not keep it for yourself. The story has many layers and is making us ask questions about its meaning; like all really important stories we know not all of those questions will be answered and it will keep us thinking long after we have performed it.

Other news

When the Queen visited Bristol on 22nd November, one of the visits she made was to Bristol Old Vic to open the Royal Box. As associates of the Old Vic, two representatives of Firebird Theatre were invited to attend and were presented to the Queen. Although we were disappointed that only two people could attend, we were very proud and honoured to be included in this once-in- a- lifetime event. The Queen asked us questions about Firebird and showed a lot of interest in the Company. A great visit for everyone in Bristol and we felt very lucky to be part of that; we thank Bristol Old Vic for giving us the opportunity, as well as ALL the other support, help and opportunities we receive from them.

The Disability History Month event is taking place in January at the M Shed and other venues in Bristol. Firebird is performing its introduction to The Breadhorse as part of this event for Ferment in the Studio at BOV on January 30th. Our sister organization, Artists First, will be showing artwork at the M Shed on 19th January.


Firebird has written poetry inspired by Alan Garner’s The Breadhorse, which works as an introduction to the story. This introduction is 10 – 15 minutes in length and Firebird is sharing the stage with others on 30th January to perform it for the first time at 6.30pm. We are hoping that it will give audiences a taster for the full version of The Breadhorse, which will be performed in March.   

Dates for your diary:

Saturday 19th January 11am – 5pm at the M Shed, Disability History Month Event 

Wednesday 30th January 6.30pm Ferment: introduction to The Breadhorse, for more information please contact Bristol Old Vic, www.bristololdvic.org.uk

Thursday 14th until Saturday 16th March: performances of The Breadhorse – half price tickets before the end of February, please contact Bristol Old Vic for more information, www.bristololdvic.org.uk

Last but not least, we want to say thank you to you all for your support and help during 2012; we send Christmas Greetings and our very best wishes for a healthy, peaceful and happy New Year from us all in Firebird Theatre

We would like to thank those who have funded us during 2012: 

The Breadhorse is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, Triangle Trust, Lark Trust, RTR Foundation, David Solomons Charitable Trust and Bristol Old Vic Ferment.  

The Breadhorse is produced by MAYK. www.mayk.org.uk  


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Newsletter, October 2012

We are delighted to announce that our application for funding from Art Council England’s Grants for the Arts has been successful. This gives us enough money to start work on The Breadhorse Project.

The Breadhorse Project is about creating a new, inspirational and powerful show through which we will:

               The Breadhorse by Carol Chilcott          
• Explore new ways of working with communities of young disabled and non disabled people

• Provide opportunities to develop and explore existing partnerships and new relationships

• Develop the company structure of Firebird Theatre.

The show will be a new stage adaptation of acclaimed author Alan Garner’s captivating short story, The Breadhorse.

Breadhorse is a playground game where children carry each other on their backs. In Garner’s story, this boisterous game turns nasty as one boy is forced to be the Breadhorse again and again.

We will draw inspiration from the story’s themes of bullying, isolation and empowerment to create an original and moving new piece of theatre in collaboration with young people from across Bristol through a community chorus. We will use original music, poetic text and ensemble performance to create performances, which we hope will challenge, surprise and move our audiences.

For this project, Firebird will be working in partnership with Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Bristol on The Breadhorse Project. We will also be working with Kate Yedigaroff and Matthew Austin (MAYK), who will help us to produce the show. To work with a producer is a new experience for us and we are very excited to have this sort of support.

Over the next couple of months we will be able to confirm the other people we will be working with on this project; they will include students from local schools, musicians, choir leaders, actors and other theatre practitioners.

Important dates for your diary are:

Saturday 24th November Firebird Theatre’s Annual General Meeting at Bristol Old Vic at 10.15am.

March 2013, week beginning 11th, performances of The Breadhorse in the Studio at Bristol Old Vic (days and times to be confirmed)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Cancelled Games People Play on Sunday 30th September 2012

We need to let you know that the Games People Play performance at the Arnolfini at 2pm on Sunday 30th September is CANCELLED.

Please see the notice from Poetry Can below.

We are very disappointed not to be able to show this new work as planned but will look to make a new date for the performance as soon as possible. If you were intending to come along to the Arnolfini on Sunday, we are sorry to miss seeing you and do hope this cancellation does not cause you too much inconvenience.

We will post a new date for this performance as soon as we are able.

Notice from Bristol's Poetry Can

Firebird Theatre, Claire Williamson and Bristol Poetry Festival regret to announce the postponement of:


on Sunday 30 September, 2.00PM

at Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

The postponement is due to the extent of road closures and the inaccessibility of Bristol City Centre during the Bristol Half-Marathon.

We will announce an alternative date shortly.

We are sorry for any inconvenience and disappointment caused by this postponement.

Colin Brown
Director, Poetry Can
12 Great George Street
Bristol, BS1 5RH
Tel: 0117 933 0900
e: info@poetrycan.co.uk

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Games People Play

Games People Play, a performance of new poetry by Claire Williamson and Firebird Theatre at Bristol Poetry Festival.

The performance is on Sunday 30th September, 2pm at the Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA

               Image by Carol Chilcott, photograph by Amanda
               Harman www.amandaharman.co.uk

Games People Play is a group of new poems written by the Firebird Poets: Brenda Cook, Steve Knight, Sharlie Yea, Jenny Stafford and Daniel Bryan and well-know Bristol Poet, Claire Williamson.

This will be a British Sign Language interpreted performance

Tickets cost £5/£3 from the Arnolfini Box Office, telephone: 0117 9172300/01


Please see Bristol Poetry Festival brochure for full listings www.poetrycan.co.uk


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Firebird Newsletter

This is the first of the informal newsletters that we hope to be able to post every so often, to keep you up-dated with what we are doing.

We want to do a better job of keeping in touch with you all and hope this will be a more successful way of doing things! Any feedback will be much appreciated.


At a special Launch on 29th May, Bristol Old Vic announced that Firebird is to become part of a small group of associate companies and artists who will work with them as part of future discussions, planning and sharing of work over the next 5 years. We are, of course, honoured to be asked to be part of this group; it will give us the opportunity to contribute to and be involved in what is exciting about making theatre in Bristol.

This July, Firebird has been working on a storytelling project with pupils and teachers at Briarwood School. Firebird worked with Year 6 children and their teachers. This project enabled us to look at ways of using theatre to tell a children’s story as simply and as clearly as possible. We also learned more about how we can involve the children in the telling of the story.

Firebird is also currently fund-raising for The Breadhorse Project, which is about us working with young disabled and non disabled people to
create a new, inspirational show to be performed at Bristol Old Vic in 2013.

With this project we will be working in partnership with MAYK (who will work with us as producers), Bristol Old Vic and the Young Company, Theatre Bristol, St Brendan’s Sixth Form College and other Bristol schools. We are hoping to work with Tristan Sturrock, Sarah Moody and Ann Pugh again and new artists that we haven’t worked with before: Mark Lawrence and Laurie Stewart.

The Breadhorse is written by Alan Garner, who has given his permission for us to perform his story. We think this is the first time that the story has been performed, so this is a real first in lots of ways.

We will work hard to make this project happen, subject to funding. We will up-date everyone about our progress and hope to confirm one way or the other about funding by the end of September.

On September 30th Firebird will take part in Bristol Poetry Festival at the Arnolfini; we will send more information nearer the time. The Firebird Poets are currently working with Claire Williamson, well-known Bristol Poet, to write poetry around the nature of games; we are using The Breadhorse to inspire this poetry and hopefully the work can feed into the The Breadhorse Project, later this year.

Thank you Friends

Firebird would like to thank all those people who have joined our Friends and Supporters Scheme. This monthly giving via direct debit is extremely helpful in giving us regular funds that are vital in terms of planning for the future. We now have a new page on our website ‘Support Us’ http://www.firebird-theatre.com/supportus.pdf which tells you about the scheme and also suggests other ways you can support us, shopping on line for instance, or donating via ebay.co.uk

We really appreciate all the support and friendship we have from so many of you, but in these difficult times of funding, where many small arts and theatre groups struggle to survive, we do need your help. So, if you can, let’s formalise our friendship, and get just that little bit friendlier still! We know how hard money can be, so with the Friends scheme you can give as little as £3 (or more if you would like!); every penny is appreciated by us because we know it is from you, and we can promise that it all goes directly into helping us make theatre.

Also, if you know other people who might be interested in supporting us, please direct them to the Support Us page on our website; the more, the merrier. For people who do not have access to the internet and would like to support Firebird, we can also send leaflets in the mail if needed; please just ask.

Finally, please feel free to contact us if you want more information about Firebird, or if you have any ideas or suggestions about supporting Firebird or if you just want to send us a comment or say hello.

Our very best wishes and thanks from all of us at Firebird Theatre